Donovan Beeson built this fantastic tiered display for Depart-Ment, and was gracious enough to write up a How-To for our DIY Displays series. She managed to show a lot of product in a tiny 2×2 space and didn’t have to spend a fortune to do it.
I created this standing riser display due to some space restraints at Depart-ment at the Pitchfork Music Festival in 2008. Before this, we were laying the cards out on our table which takes up a ton of space, and you can’t always see the cards in the back because of glare on the clear bags. I needed to have a display that would maximize verticality while maintaining stability and being relatively easy to transport.
I began with deciding how big to make the display. The size was dictated by the Depart-ment rules and by the standard sizes of my cards. The resulting structure is 20″ tall and deep by 24″ wide with risers which fit five different designs of cards vertically or four horizontally. There are five risers meaning that I can potentially show 25 different designs in 24 inches of table space.
The main body of the structure is made from foam core. I cut out three stepped shapes which measured (left in the above diagram) for the base supports and ten flats (right in the diagram) for the bottoms and backs of the risers. Working one flat at a time, I affixed the flats to two of the stepped bases with a high-temp glue gun; so that I had a base on either end of the flat. I continued that process to create all of the risers. Basically, it’s like building a little staircase. When I completed basic structure, I then placed glue on the edges of the third step shape and inserted it into the middle of the underside of the display. I did this for added support to keep the display from sagging in the center.
To reinforce the glue connections, I inserted straight pins in all of the seams. This probably didn’t do much, but it made me feel less like it was all going to fall apart. You may be concerned about the look of foam core with hot glue and straight pins all over it, but my next step was to cover the exposed surfaces of the structure with craft paper which created a smooth and uniform backdrop for the cards. The paper did crinkle in places, but that wasn’t an issue because the cards cover up most of the paper anyway. Lastly, I glued some small diameter, squared Balsa wood rods along the front edge of the risers so that my cards wouldn’t slip off.
The result was a sturdy and lightweight display. It fits through the doors of the bus which was a concern seeing as I had to use public transit to get to the festival. A bonus to the display is that my business partner, Kathy, had made some display stands for our stationeries which also fit on the risers. I was able to make a sign out of some left over foam core which I attached to bamboo skewers. I then inserted the pointy ends of skewers in to the foam core of the sign and the blunt ends into envelopes I attached to the back of the stationery displays producing an almost floating sign.
I am currently building another out of Balsa wood, which I hope to be able to make collapsible for my trip to Renegade San Francisco this year.
Donovan Beeson is a Craft Engineer who lives in Chicago, Illinois. She is the Directress of Production & Clever Ideas for 16 Sparrows and also creates her own line of stationery and office supplies for sale on Etsy.
Got a display you’d like to write a How-To for? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org!